Compare Carpet Installation Costs

New carpet installation price comparisons including costs related to subfloor, stairs and carpet removal. Learn the best way to source the cheapest installation estimates from local installers vs carpet stores and DIY installation costs.

When it’s time to get new carpet installation estimates you’ll want to know how to find the lowest prices based on the specific requirements of your new or replacement carpet installation project. This guide to new or replacement carpet installation costs will help you understand what to expect and what to budget for the work. For an exact cost please apply for free estimates from local qualified contractors.

You might also be interested in browsing our Carpet Price Comparison Guide for information on the cost of carpet installation in a list of major metropolitan areas. The page includes reader-submitted installation prices with details on the brand of carpet installed and where in their homes it was placed. You’ll also find carpet prices for the most popular brands in the industry like Mohawk, Stainmaster, Shaw, Milliken, Fabrica and many more.

We also have pricing for carpet repair and carpet cleaning.

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Factors that Affect Installation Cost

Calculating carpet installation prices is not as simple as multiplying the amount of material by a per square foot rate. Few installers use such a simple method to calculate their prices.

Most installers take several additional factors into consideration when producing their written estimates for installing carpet.

Number of rooms: It takes much longer to install 400 square feet of carpeting in a hallway and three small bedrooms, for example, than in one large family room. There is far more planning, measuring, trimming, gluing seams and attaching of the carpet to perimeter tack strips. Therefore the number of rooms to be carpeted is a greater factor in determining the cost of carpet installation than merely the total square footage.

That said, homeowners also need to be aware that there is a significant cost to install carpet regardless of how small the job may be. A professional installer will set a minimum price for call out and labor to make even the smallest job worthwhile.

Room variables: Are you installing a solid-color perimeter carpet around a patterned carpet in the center of the room? That’s a fantastic look, but it’s just one example of how a non-typical feature can raise the cost of carpet installation. Others include:

  • Oddly shaped rooms
  • Carpet butting up to hard flooring surfaces
  • Working around obstacles such as support poles in a basement

In short, any unusual requirement might raise the cost to install carpet.

Subfloor preparation: The subfloor must be level and free of fasteners prior to carpet installation. If the installer has to remove staples, fill gaps between subfloor sheets, sand the edges of warped sheets or replace damaged sheets, the cost of installation will go up accordingly.

Stairs: A separate estimate is typically included for installing carpeting on stairs and landings. Expect estimates of $3.75 to $12 per stair or landing based on the specific material being installed and any complexities such as tread-only carpeting or the material used as a runner on hardwood stairs, leading to both edges requiring special treatment.

Transitions: As mentioned above, the amount of trimming that’s required to carpet an unusually shaped room can impact your carpet estimate. Similarly you also need to budget for transitions from one room to another or one flooring type to another. As well as added labor costs for each transition you should factor in the cost of transition strips that can range in price from $6  (pewter) to $45 (natural wood) per strip.

Removing and disposing of old carpet: This is a place you can save some money on the job. Cost of removing carpet ranges from $0.45 to $0.90 per square foot based on difficulty. Disposal of the carpet can double that cost. Call your local recycling center to find a facility that takes carpet. This will reduce your disposal costs and keep the material out of a landfill.

This is What You Will Pay for Carpet Installation

So, how much does it cost to install carpet? All of the factors previously mentioned affect the price you’ll be quoted when you request your carpet installation estimates, so below you will see prices per square foot for basic, intermediate and expensive carpet installation jobs based on the complexity of your carpet install project as well as the work you can expect to be included in your quote.

Basic Carpet Replacement Cost: $2.30 to $3.70 per square foot

  • Subfloor requiring no or very little preparation
  • 1,200 square feet or more
  • Large rooms
  • One or two carpet materials
  • Few carpet seams and transitions
  • Only typical obstacles such as door frames

Average Carpet Installation Cost: $3.20 to $5.00 per square foot

  • Subfloor requiring light sanding and some filling
  • 600-1,200 square feet
  • Large small rooms
  • One or two carpet materials
  • Short hallway
  • Multiple carpet seams OR transitions
  • A few extra obstacles
  • Some furniture moving or carpet removal

Expensive Carpet Installation Prices: $4.23 to $6.55 per square foot

  • Subfloor requiring heavy sanding and filling
  • Less than 600 square feet
  • Mostly small rooms
  • Several carpet materials
  • Long hallway
  • Multiple carpet seams AND transitions
  • Several extra obstacles
  • Lots of furniture moving and carpet disposal

The more square feet of carpeting installed, the lower the cost per square foot should be, all else being equal. This is because one large job is more cost-effective for the crew than several small jobs in terms of travel time, labor cost and setup on the job site.

The range of pricing and overlap reflects the fact that most jobs don’t fit neatly into any one category.

New Installation Vs Carpet Replacement Cost

The installation prices above have been based on a completely new carpet installation project. We often get asked whether the cost to replace a carpet is cheaper than installing brand new carpet from scratch. For the most part the answer is no, if you’re replacing an old carpet, which most homeowners are, then there’s not very much that can be salvaged from the old installation. The chances are the carpet padding will need replacing along with the carpet so typically it makes more sense and saves time just to remove everything and start over.

How to Find the Lowest Carpet Installation Price

There are two keys to getting the best and lowest carpet installation cost – comparing prices at local carpet stores and getting estimates directly from multiple flooring installers.

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Compare prices from local stores: Flooring stores typically package installation as part of the total estimate they provide, if you request it. Check the leading carpet retailers where you live to find which has the cheapest installation costs.

Cheap is good but free installation is a myth! Offering free carpet installation simply means that the cost is going to be recovered in the price charged for the carpeting, padding, floor preparation or other expense. So beware of enticing offers from the big box stores like Home Depot or Lowes.

Few flooring stores have their own installers on staff. Instead, they contract out to independent carpet installers, pay them and hide the cost in the carpet estimate they give the homeowner. Ignore “free installation” gimmicks; instead, consider head to head estimates from local flooring stores against big box retailers and discount carpet warehouses for the total cost of the carpet and installation.

Get estimates directly from local carpet installers: From the following options, going direct to local contractors will yield the best installation costs.

  • Installation arranged through an interior decorator/designer: Highest
  • Installation as part of a package from a carpet retailer: Average
  • Installation by dealing directly with a local installer: Lowest

When you purchase the flooring materials and the installation separately, there is nowhere to hide costs that boost the price.

Contact at least three carpet installers, and let them know that you are gathering estimates from several contractors. When they know they’re competing for the work, they’ll give you their lowest installation prices.

This process gives you the opportunity to learn about the installer, something that isn’t possible when the carpet store or decorator subcontracts the job of installation.

Find out about the experience of the crew that will be doing the installation. This is more important than how long the company has been in business. The process allows you to choose the installation company with the right combination of price and expertise.

DIY Carpet Installation

Installing the carpet yourself is the way to save the most money, but only if you do the job correctly. Living with carpet issues such as a loose fit or seams coming apart is a hassle. Fixing those issues is expensive.

Keep this in mind: The cost of carpet installation is about 30% of the package when basic, low-cost carpet is chosen, and it can be less than 10% of the total when expensive carpet is installed. You’ll need to compare those savings with the cost of the tools and supplies required. See below for a breakdown of DIY carpet installation costs.

If you choose DIY carpet installation, take careful notes from online tutorials or get the help of a friend with carpet laying experience. Here are the basic steps.

Step 1: Measure each room, and add the measurements together. Add 10% extra for waste and to have a small amount of carpet left for future patches and repairs.

Step 2: Remove all staples and debris from the floor. Fill gaps between subfloor sheets with floor leveler. Use a belt sander to sand raised edges.

Step 3: Install tack strip around the perimeter of the room. The old strip should be used only if it is in excellent condition.

Step 4: Install padding to within an inch of the tack strip.

Step 5: Lay out the carpet in an open space such as a garage or the driveway, and pre-cut it with a few inches of margin on each side. Carry it into the house, lay it out.

Step 6: Trim the carpet pieces to fit walls, corners and obstacles, and use a knee kicker to stretch the carpet onto the tack strip.

Step 7: Use hot seam glue to join carpet seams.

DIY Carpet Installation Costs

This list includes the cost of tools, supplies and services required for carpet removal and disposal and installation of the new carpeting. Tool cost ranges are based on the quality of the tools you choose.

• Utility knife or carpet knife: $5-$8
• Tape measure: $6-$20
• Chalk line: $8-$15
• Carpet knee kicker: $30-$250
• Carpet stretcher:$300 – $600
• Seam iron: $50-$100
• Seam glue: $0.40-$0.55 per linear foot
• Carpet seam roller: $12-$25
• Tack strip: $0.10-$0.15 per linear foot
• Hammer for installing tack strip: $7-$25
• Floor leveling compound: $15-$60 per gallon
• Compound applicator/putty knife: $6-$10
• Belt sander and sanding belt: $55-$240

You can rent the more expensive tools at your local home improvement store or rental center.

• Carpet stretcher rental: $25-$30 per day
• Belt sander: $22-$27 per day

Potential labor cost savings when installing carpet yourself:

• Carpet removal: $0.50-$1 per square foot
• Carpet disposal in landfill: $15-$35 per cubic yard
• Carpet recycling: Free to $1.00 per square foot
• Carpet installation: $2.30-$6.60 per square foot based on factors explained above

Your time is valuable, and here is the number of total hours you can expect to spend installing 1,000 yards of carpeting with one person. Cut the number of hours in half for a 2-person crew.

• Basic installation: 18-22 hours
• Intermediate installation: 22-25 hours
• Difficult installation: 24-30 hours
• Set of stairs: 4-6.5 hours

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The Hassle-Free Way to Get the Lowest Estimate

It can be a challenge to get estimates from carpet installers. You might need to contact as many as ten to get a timely reply from three. Another option is to use the service offered on this page by our partner.

Fill out just one quick form, and you’ll receive free written estimates from pre-screened local installers who know they’re competing for the work. There is no cost to you and no obligation to accept any of the estimates.